Sometimes when I think about money it looks like it’s just like any other thing, easy and accessible. On the other days, money feels like a ghost sitting on my shoulders telling me that I don’t have enough, that I am not enough. I’ve always had a power struggle with money. It’s like a see saw, some days I’m up soaring and the other, I’m right on the ground.

Money means different things to different people. For me, it’s been a dream I’ve always tried to make into a reality. It is my ability to give my parents the life they deserve. It is my ability to go for that extra something in my order but where to draw the line? Where do I stop? Do I need to stop? Do I need to not spend and save it all? But I don’t want it that way. The inflow of cash brings in joy but somewhere, on a much deeper level it brings stress and anxiety.

I won’t pinpoint a certain date or time but there have been countless cases where despite having quite a lot to begin with, I’ve ended up completely broke and consequently panicky. This is something that I feel a lot of us deal with on a regular basis and I hope once you’re done reading this blog post, you feel a little better and plan a little better.

So how do I divide my money? Do I go crazy and slash it into half? Do I keep some away or do I just keep it all with me and just trust my gut every time i spend  my money? I’ll take my own example and hopefully give you the basic outline of a sustainable financial plan.

Step 1 – Make categories of the things you spend money on and then make a priority list. For example, I spend money on travel(cabs mostly), production (for my shoots and videos), food(whenever i’m out) and things I need for my videos(makeup, clothes etc).

Step 2 –  Allow yourself budgets for your priorities and be practical about it. Don’t keep the budget too tight because if you exceed it, you shouldn’t feel guilty/stressed about it (if it was necessary). The whole idea of this exercise is to just keep track of your income, expenditure, and savings and I’ll be honest, you won’t master it in a month but it will for sure help you build a healthier habit.

Step 3 – Keep aside whatever amount possible that you wish to save. You could give to your mom, keep it in a piggy bank(it really works!! Especially mitti ki gullak (earthen pot)), keep it in a separate bank account if you have one. It is completely your choice.

Step 4 – Keep a tiny amount for a just in case situation. For example, your budget allows you to keep Rs. 4,000 aside. Now, you can keep Rs. 3,000 in your savings and keep 1,000 aside just in case you need some extra money at the end of the month and if you don’t spend it, it only means that you have and extra 1000 bucks for the next month! So yay!

I think these are enough steps for you to begin with. Some other factors that don’t exactly fit into the category of how much cash you’re spending or saving but definitely contribute to excess expenditure are –

  1. Sleep cycle. I find myself spending a ridiculous amount of money on cabs just because I have a fucked up sleep schedule and I wake up late in the morning.
  2. The urge to casually walk into a store. Once you enter the store, you’ll always find something that you ‘love’ which you might even forget about later! So don’t fall into the trap and till you can learn how to control your urge to shop, stay away from stores unless it’s absolutely necessary.
  3. Carry water and eat before you leave the house.  We tend to spend a lot of money on snacks apart from the food we buy and that sure becomes a lot at the end of the month.

You’re not alone in this situation. Money stresses us all out just in different proportions, it can be crazy for some (read: me) and just fine others. I’ve been in such a situation and I sure understand the pressure so I hope this post helps you in whatever little way. I’m working on it too. Remember, it’s your money and your journey so you can take your time and customise things according to your needs.

You can always come back to this post just to refresh your system! Hope this helps.